Some Mission History!
“In 1893 a godly and capable man maned John Price opened a mission in the East End at 408 East Federal Street. It all started with a small Sunday school class. The venture was successful from the start and the following year a kindergarten, sewing club and mothers club were added. So, in 1905 the board felt that the work should be enlarged and made permanent, and the ministry was relocated to 360 ½ East Federal Street. Accordingly, an old residence was rented from the Youngstown Ice Co, two workers were engaged, and a Gospel Mission, having certain settlement features, was maintained.”
English classes with an enrollment of over 100 foreigners followed. The kindergarten grew to seventy-five students. Later a day nursery for children whose mothers went to work and a fresh air camp for over sixty children were established. A total of $4,631.56 was donated to operate Christ Mission Settlement in 1907 from hundreds of patrons, churches, businesses, and groups. The shelter has never received government funds.
In 1908 we moved to East Boardman Street to a three-story building on a lot donated by H.B. Wick. Rev. Ray Hagstrom joined Christ Mission as our Superintendent in 1917 and in 1922 the Christ Mission Helio Hygienic Camp for Pre-Tubercular and under privileged children started.
Again, the activities outgrew our quarters and for many years a new building was needed. Our hopes were finally realized and in 1929 as a spacious new building was home to Christ Mission Settlement – a combination Mission and Settlement, seeking to emulate the Master who came “not to be ministered unto, but to minister.” Included was a “Children’s Receiving Home” to temporarily care for young ones whose homes were completely broken due to sickness, death, desertion, or incarceration of parents. In 1929, sixty-nine children were served.
1936 saw the addition of Christ Mission Farm and in 1958 Rev Walter Houghton became the new director. In 1960 the work was split to become two separate entities, Christ Mission Goodwill Home and Rescue Mission Inc. In 1969 the Rescue Mission moved to South Avenue before moving again in 1972 to 962 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. Rev John Woods, Rev. Tim Lowe and Rev David Sherrard led the Mission in the mid-1970’s to the early 2000’s where the ministry continued to serve three meals daily to anyone in need, offer overnight shelter, and help with clothing and essentials. The ministry also offered basic living skills, budgeting, and GED coursework along with Bible studies and chapel services. In 1992 the Mission served 113,683 meals to hungry people and provided 26,886 nights of shelter.
Jim Echement was the next Executive Director in 2012 until our current CEO, John Muckridge III assumed leadership in 2017 and we fully engaged in a capital campaign to move from our 25,000 square foot building that was beyond repair. In November of 2021, a ribbon was cut at 1300 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd to open a brand new and fully paid for 8.6 million dollar, 50,000 sq foot single story building designed for the ministry of rescue in the Mahoning Valley. The current shelter is capable of sheltering 100 men and 86 women and children nightly, continues to serve three meals daily to anyone in need and offers programming to grow individuals out of homelessness with an annual budget in 2023 of $2,880,000.
Praise God for His faithfulness and thank you to all who have been part of our rich history!
Adriane had her first child at the age of 15 – when still a child herself. “There was no roadmap on how to go through trauma… how to raise a child… how to get your life together,” she says. “You have to take the good with the bad and sometimes the bad strengthens you.” Adriane faced her share of tough times as she struggled with young motherhood – unhealthy relationships, poor choices, substance abuse and finally eviction. But through those hardships, she found the strength to ask for help. She came to the Mission and began to lead a faith-filled life. But when her children were older, she strayed from God’s path. While she knew our ministry could help get her life back on track, she was ashamed to admit she’d rekindled destructive habits. Then she remembered Christ’s invitation to come as you are. And we welcomed her back with open arms. In our care once again, she found the time, peace and guidance to reconnect with the Lord. “I could pick up the Bible, collect my thoughts, sit and think, and see where I missed the path down the road.” She also focused on education – skills that would supplement life lessons and set a good example for her children. “I wanted to teach them that you need a little background in order to grow.” As she looks toward the future, she’ll seek a job where she’s serving God’s purpose and using her skills, experience and background to help others like herself. “I’ll tell them anything is possible… change is possible. You just need to start somewhere. Believe in yourself and keep that mustard seed of faith.” “Since coming to the Mission, I am better than my yesterdays.”